domenica 26 marzo 2017

Measure for Pleasure

“I really do get a lot of pleasure out of it!”. Evgeny Ellinovich Sveshnikov cracked down on Nona Terentevna Gaprindashvili (pictures, games). See

Evgeny Ellinovich Sveshnikov is actually leading 2½–½ after the first three games of his exhibition six game Rapid chess match with Nona Terentevna Gaprindashvili, which started yesterday in Jūrmala, Latvia. The five-time Women’s World Chess Champion almost invariably suffered his opponent’s deeper theoretical preparation, even though in the second game she missed a great chance to win the whole point:

Evgeny Ellinovich Sveshnikov –
Exhibition Rapid chess match; Jūrmala, March 25, 2017
2r2k2/1r2pp2/p4bp1/1p1P2Np/1B3Pnn/3B4/PP2RP1P/4R1K1 w - - 10 29

Position after 28. ... Bd4-f6

29. d6! A quite interesting Exchange sacrifice in the breathlessly time scramble. 29. ... Bxg5 30. fxg5 Nf3+ 31. Kf1 Nxe1 32. dxe7+? Going astray. After 32. Rxe1 exd6 33. h3 Nxf2 34. Kxf2 White remains with Rook, two Bishops (even though two Pawns down) against two Rooks, but – by far more important – with a much better position. 32. ... Ke8 33. Rxe1 Rd7 34. Be2 Ne5 35. f4? I guess Sveshnikov should have played, for bad or for good, 35. Bxb5 Nc6 36. Bxa6 Ra8 37. Bb5 Nxb4 38. Rd1 Ra7 39. a3 Na6 40. Rxd7 Rxd7 41. Bxd7+ (or even 41. Bxa6) trying to make the opponent’s task harder (and possibly harder and harder). 35. ... Nd3 36. Bxd3 Rxd3. Now White is (should be) finished. 37. Re2 Rd4 38. Bc3 Rxf4+ 39. Ke1 Rxc3. There is nothing wrong about it, except that 39. ... Rc6! (intending ... Rc6-e6) would have been infinitely simpler. 40. bxc3 Rc4. You’d think that she had given back the Exchange just to play 40. ... Rg4! without fearing the ghost-Bishop going to f6, but rapid chess is not an exact science. 41. Kd2 Rc7. 41. ... Rg4! was still the simplest way to do the job. 42. Re4 Rxe7? The last careless inaccuracy that indeed throws away the win. It took just an intermediate check: 42. ... Rd7+! 43. Kc2 Rxe7 44. Rb4 Re2+ and Black must win. 43. Rb4 Kd7 44. a4! Kc6 45. axb5+ axb5 46. c4! bxc4 47. Rxc4+ Kd5. After all, it has remained on the board only a drawish 3 vs. 2 same side Pawn ending. 48. Rf4 Ke5 49. Ke3 Ra7 50. Rf6 Ra3+ 51. Kf2 Ra7 52. h4 Ra4 53. Kg3 Rg4+ 54. Kh3 Rf4 55. Ra6 Rf3+ 56. Kg2 Rd3 57. Rf6 Rd4 58. Kg3 Rg4+ 59. Kh3 Rf4 60. Ra6 f6 61. gxf6 Rxf6 62. Ra5+ Kf4 63. Rg5 Ra6 64. Rg3 Kf5 65. Rg5+ Kf6 66. Rb5 Ra3+ 67. Kg2 Ra4 68. Kg3 Rg4+ 69. Kh3 Re4 70. Rg5 Re5 71. Rg3 Rb5 72. Rf3+ Rf5 73. Rg3 Kg7 74. Ra3 Kh6 75. Ra7 Rf3+ 76. Kg2 Rb3 77. Rc7 ½ : ½.

sabato 25 marzo 2017

The Wedding March


If the rain is under heaven
What type of umbrella do we need?

任航 (Rèn Háng), February 8, 2009

The Golden Salamander

王皓 (Wáng Hào) – Sethuraman Panayappan Sethuraman
1st Sharjah Masters International Chess Championship; Sharjah, March 25, 2017
Spanish Game C88

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 0-0 8. a4 Bb7 9. d3 d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nbd2 f6! 12. axb5 axb5 13. Rxa8 Bxa8 14. c4!?? White goes for tricky adventures (which will soon imply a Pawn sacrifice), since otherwise Black seems to have completely equalised (for instance: 14. Ne4 Na5 15. Ba2 c5=). 14. ... bxc4 15. Nxc4 Kh8 16. d4 Bb4 17. Re4. This was 王皓 (Wáng Hào)’s idea, heading for Black’s King. 17. ... Nde7 18. Rh4 Nf5. Clearly not 18. ... exd4?? on account of 19. Ng5! winning immediately. 19. Rh3 Ncxd4 20. Nxd4 exd4. All White’s hopes vanish: 20. ... Nxd4? 21. Nxe5! fxe5?? 22. Rxh7+ Kxh7 23. Qh5 mate. 21. Qg4. Yet believing. After 21. Qh5 Black gives back his extra Pawn by 21. ... Nh6 22. Bxh6 gxh6 23. Qxh6 Qe7 for securing a clear advantage. 21. ... Nh6?? And a miracle happens! Had Black played 21. ... Qd5! it would almost certainly have been another story. 22. Bxh6 gxh6 23. Rg3 Rg8

24. Nd6!! 1 : 0. For after 24. ... Rxg4 25. Nf7+ Kg7 26. Rxg4+ Kf8 27. Nxd8 White remains a Rook ahead.

王皓 (Wáng Hào) (R.) vs. Sethuraman Panayappan Sethuraman
Photo: Maria Emelianova


The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin


Today is Saturday and you know what it means! It’s the day of the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s afternoon Fischerandom chess meeting. So, I hope to see you all around 16,00!

Illustration: Charles Monroe Schulz

Who’s Who
Weeks of negotiations over American Health Care Act fail to create GOP consensus around replacement bill in stunning defeat for Donald Trump. [Read more].
Muhammad Ali embraces Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., at a news conference in Atlanta, Georgia, United States launching a celebration for the first national holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader, January 10, 1986. Photo: Ric Feld/AP.

venerdì 24 marzo 2017

The Guards Came Through

FIDE President Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov (pictured below on the right) signed today a long-term agreement with the commander-in-chief of the National Guard of the Russian Federation Viktor Vasilyevich Zolotov (pictured below on the left) in order to develop and stage a regular and strategic cycle of chess initiatives in at least four Cadet Academies of the Russian Guard (Rosgvardiya). It’s worth remembering that the National Guard is independent from the Russian Armed Forces, and that its federal executive body was established in April 2016 by a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin to secure borders, take charge of gun control, combat terrorism, organized crime, protect public order and guard important state facilities.

“Something’s wrong here...” ©

Restless Youth

Former Soviet and Latvian Grandmaster Evgeny Ellinovich Sveshnikov meets the Queen – in pictures. For further details, see

Former Soviet and Latvian Grandmaster Evgeny Ellinovich Sveshnikov today welcomed and greeted personally the five-time Women’s World Chess Champion Nona Terentevna Gaprindashvili at the Riga International Airport in Riga, Latvia. But, of course, it was not just a matter of gallantry. In fact, tomorrow (and the day after tomorrow) they will play an exhibition six game Rapid chess match in Jūrmala, so don’t miss the live coverage of!

Writing in the Sand

Umm al-Zamool, United Arab Emirates: An Arabian oryx runs over sand dunes at a sanctuary in the desert. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images.

The Suicide Club

Musunuri Lalith Babu – Kantholi Rathnakaran
1st Sharjah Masters International Chess Championship; Sharjah, March 24, 2017
4r2k/1p4bp/p2p2p1/3P4/P4p2/1P3Q1P/3qNPP1/2R3K1 w - - 3 28

Position after 27. ... Rf8-e8

White’s position is just a little uncomfortable, as his pieces appear quite clumsy, and you would expect something like 28. Kf1 Kg8 with Black keeping the initiative himself. But no! 28. Rc4?? It is really an awful oversight. White thought he had time for a Rook lift along the 4th rank (thus attacking the f4-Pawn), without fearing for his Knight, as after 28. ... Qxe2? 29. Qxe2 Rxe2 30. Rc8+ Bf8 31. Rxf8+ Kg7 32. Rxf4 White would regain the piece with a Pawm ahead, while 28. ... Rxe2?? 29. Rc8+ Bf8 30. Rxf8+ Kg7 31. Rxf4 would expose Black to the worst and foreseeable consequences. It seemed everything alright, but Lalith has just overlooked something trivial: 28. ... Qe1+! 29. Kh2 Rxe2 0 : 1. For now Black can answer 30. Rc8+ by 30. ... Re8 remaining with a clear piece ahead.

Musunuri Lalith Babu
Photo: Maria Emelianova

Look Who Just Walked In

Robert James “Bobby” Fischer. September 17, 1965. Photo by Louis Liotta/New York Post Archives/© NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images.

The Singsong Castle

Alternate Shakespeare Auditions for Women

As Disneyland Paris prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary, dancers for the Finding Nemo and Finding Dory chariot attend a rehearsal. Photo: Benoit Tessier/Reuters.

Dancers in dragon costumes attending a rehearsal. Photo: Benoit Tessier/Reuters.

L’Ours et la Lune

L’Abandon, circa 1886-1905
The first museum dedicated to French artist Camille Claudel opens this week – and it showcases her intimate and sensual take on classical sculpture. Photo: Marco Illuminati © Musée Camille Claudel.

Nick of Time

Michael Adams – Pentala Harikrishna
"读特杯" (“Dú Tè Cup”) 龙岗 (Lónggǎng) Chess Masters; 深圳 (Shēnzhèn), March 24, 2017
6k1/3q1p2/1p6/p1p1P1p1/P1Qn4/4K1P1/BP5P/8 w - - 0 36

Position after 35. ... h6xg5

The White e-Pawn is isolated and weak, but nevertheless White should somehow be able to hold his own after, let’s say, 36. Qd5 Qf5 37. Bc4 (Stockfish). 36. Qf1?? I cannot but guess Adams was in terrific time trouble for explaining such a miscalculation. He was perhaps envisioning something like Qf1-f6, but Black’s rejoinder strucks him down: 36. ... Nc6! 37. Qd3. Since after 37. e6 Qd4+ 38. Kf3 Qxa4! Black seems to be able to victoriously handle all turbulences, Adams decides to try his luck by giving up his Bishop, in the vain hope that his a-Pawn may have a future (as Queen) – but it will never happen. 37. ... Qxd3+ 38. Kxd3 Nb4+ 39. Kc4 Nxa2 40. Kb5 Nb4 41. Kxb6 Nd3. Black’s task appears to be quite easy. 42. Kxa5. Equally hopeless is 42. b3 Nxe5 followed by ... f7-f5-f4. 42. ... Nxb2 43. h4 gxh4 44. gxh4 Kg7 45. h5 Kh6 46. Kb5 c4 47. Kb4 c3 48. Kxc3 Nxa4+ 49. Kd4 Kxh5 50. Kd5 Nb6+ 51. Kc6 Kg5 0 : 1. For after 52. Kd6 Nc4+ 53. Kd5 Nxe5 54. Kxe5 f5 Black’s f-Pawn will queen.

Pentala Harikrishna

Late-night meetings prove inconclusive as president forges ahead with Friday vote on flagship promise despite fears bill may fail. [Read more].
Muhammad Ali at Fighter’s Heaven, Deer Lake, Pennsylvania, 1974. Photo © Real Art Press and Peter Angelo Simon.


Baskaran Adhiban – Mishra Swayams
1st Sharjah Masters International Chess Championship; Sharjah, March 23, 2017
Torre Attack D03

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. e3 c5 5. c3 h6 6. Bh4 Nc6 7. Nbd2 Qb6 8. Rb1 Be7 9. Bd3 0-0. Also after 9. ... Nh5 10. Bxe7 Nxe7 11. 0-0 Nf6 12. Ne5 0-0 13. f4 White set up an ideal “Pillsbury Formation”, Andreikin – Karjakin, 5th Chess World Cup, Tromsø 2013. 10. 0-0 Re8 11. dxc5 Qxc5 12. b4 Qd6 13. Qe2 Nh5 14. Bxe7 Qxe7 15. b5 Na5 16. Ne5 Nf6 17. f4 b6 18. g4! Nd7 19. Ndf3 Nxe5 20. Nxe5 Bb7 21. g5! Nc4 22. Bxc4 dxc4 23. gxh6 gxh6? Possibly Swayams’s crucial mistake. Despite all Black suffered (and will suffer) it seems that after 23. ... g6! he might still have defended himself. 24. Qh5 f6

25. Kf2! Making room for the Rook on g1. 25. ... Be4. Or 25. ... fxe5 26. Rg1+ and mate in a few moves. 26. Qxh6 1 : 0.

Baskaran Adhiban (L.) vs. Mishra Swayams
Photo: Maria Emelianova

Rules of Fischerandom Chess

A spectacular example of Altocumulus lenticularis duplicatus in Iceland. There are multiple stacked lens or almond shaped patches, increasing in size with height. The mountain waves responsible for this cloud are also reflected in the extensive layer of undulating Altostratus above the lenticularis clouds. Photo: Gréta S. Guðjónsdóttir/WMO.

giovedì 23 marzo 2017

Too Little, Too Much, Just Right

余泱漪 (Yú Yāngyī) – 丁立人 (Dīng Lìrén)
"读特杯" (“Dú Tè Cup”) 龙岗 (Lónggǎng) Chess Masters; 深圳 (Shēnzhèn), March 23, 2017
4k3/1p2ppbp/p5p1/2n5/5P2/P3PN2/1P3P1P/3N1K2 w - - 0 31

Position after 30. ... Ne6xc5

余泱漪 (Yú Yāngyī) played a bit too passively, and 丁立人 (Dīng Lìrén) took his chance to question his own volatile initiative: 31. Ke2 Kd7! 32. Ng5 f6 33. Nf3. Of course, after 33. Nxh7 Ke6 the White Knight would end up being trapped in its corner grave. Curiously enough, within a few moves, the Black Knight will be faced by the same dilemma – but under more favourable conditions. 33. ... f5 34. b4 Ne4 35. Kd3 Bf6 36. a4 Kd6 37. Nd4 Bxd4 38. Kxd4 Nd2 39. Kd3! On the verge of serious trouble, 余泱漪 (Yú Yāngyī) defends with inspired precision. 39. ... Nf3 40. Ke2 Nxh2! The only practical try for a win. Black sacrifices his Knight for a (temporary) couple of Pawns, hoping for a speedy march of the a-Pawn. 41. f3! Kd5 42. Nb2 b6 43. Kf2 a5 44. bxa5 bxa5 45. Kg2 Kc5 46. Nd3+ Kc4 47. Ne5+ Kb4 48. Kxh2 Kxa4 49. Nc6 Kb5 50. Nxe7 a4 51. Nd5 a3 52. Nc3+ Kc4 53. Na2 Kb3. Most likely 丁立人 (Dīng Lìrén) was now expecting something like 54. Nc1+? Kb2 55. Nd3+ Kc3 56. Nc1 Kd2 57. Na2 Kxe3 with quite an easy win, instead... 54. e4! This extreme countermeasure actually transforms the endgame in the most radical way. The e-Pawn also aims at a crown, as the ensuing Queen ending will not be winnable – even though 丁立人 (Dīng Lìrén) took quite a little time for persuading himself. It should be noted that 54. e4! would have worked even if Black had played 53. ... Kd3 (instead of 53. ... Kb3). 56. ... Kxa2 55. e5 Kb1 56. e6 a2 57. e7 a1=Q 58. e8=Q Qd4 59. Kg3 h5 60. Qe1+ Kc2 61. Qe2+ Qd2 62. Qc4+ Kd1 63. Qb3+ Ke1 64. Qb1+ Qd1 65. Qb6 h4+ 66. Kxh4 Qxf3 67. Qg1+ Ke2 68. Kg5 Qh5+ 69. Kf6 Kf3 70. Qf1+ Kg3 71. Qc1 Qg4 72. Ke5 Qf3 73. Qg1+ Qg2 74. Qe1+ Qf2 75. Qc1 Kg4 76. Qd1+ Kh3 77. Qh1+ Kg3 78. Qc1 Qb6 79. Qe1+ Kg2 80. Qc1 Kh2 81. Qd2+ Kh3 82. Qc1 Qb5+ 83. Kf6 Kg4 84. Kxg6 Qb6+ 85. Kf7 Qd4 86. Ke6 Qxf4 87. Qg1+ Kh4 88. Qg6 ½ : ½.

余泱漪 (Yú Yāngyī) (R.) vs. 丁立人 (Dīng Lìrén)

The Immaterial
Very likely 16th World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen and his neo-fiancée Synne Christin Larsen decisively contributed to the victory of their country in the 2017 World Happiness Report. Photo: Ole Kristian Strøm and Kolbjørn Hoseth Larssen.

Love, that on gentle heart doth swiftly seize

Spread from “Rèn Háng”, courtesy of Taschen
Photo © 任航 (Rèn Háng)


Every time I think of you
I also think of death

任航 (Rèn Háng), December 9, 2016

Caring For Arcovazzi’s Underwear Collection
The “Laundromat” name was coined by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). Photo:

Not Just a Game

The Importance of Not Being Arcovazzi

Washington, D.C., United States: Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally on Capitol Hill. He urged the Senate to reject Donald Trump’s nomination of Jay Clayton to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Dancing Lives

Chiara and Letizia, virtuoso dancers of Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”, performing in the 2nd edition of the ballet festival “Le ali della danza” at the Teatro Aurora in Scandicci, Florence on January 27, 2017. Photo: Stefano Marmino.